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Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 10:14 AM
A retired Montgomery County jail sergeant has revealed for the first time how video of a restrained inmate being pepper-sprayed in the jail was obtained by a local attorney, who posted it online and brought national attention to the incident.
In an exclusive interview with the Dayton Daily News, Eric Banks said he and a fellow sergeant, Ransley Creech, brought the video to attorney Doug Brannon and also called the FBI. He said they did so because they feared the sheriff’s command staff was trying to cover up the pepper-spraying of a bound inmate, Amber Swink, by then-Sgt. Judith Sealey on Nov. 15, 2015.
“The sheriff’s office is mad that a couple people crossed that coveted blue line and told the truth about what happened,” Banks said.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:45 PM
TROY — Investigators believe they have witnesses who can place a husband at the scene where his wife was found dead in a car, Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said Tuesday.
Randy Freels faces a charge of one count of murder in the death of his wife, Samantha Freels, 52, who was found in a wrecked car with a gunshot wound Friday.
Bail for Randy Freels, 57, was set at $1.5 million Tuesday in Miami County Municipal Court. He pleaded not guilty.
Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell asked Judge Gary Nasal to set “a substantial cash bond as high as the court is willing to give. This is based on his conduct and the charge itself.”
Duchak said a check of available department records to 2010 did not show any sheriff’s office calls to the Freels’ residence.
One of the witnesses told investigators she stopped on Ohio 55 around 2:50 p.m. Jan. 12 to ask a man and woman in the road if they needed assistance, then heard “six to eight popping sounds” a short time later after pulling into her nearby driveway, according to a sheriff’s office report.
The witness said the woman “appeared nervous and the male did not make eye contact with her and did not speak,” according to the report. The witness, after viewing a photograph, said she believed the woman was Samantha Freels of Union Twp.
Emergency crews were called just after 3 p.m. Friday for a report of a car into a creek in the area of Ohio 55 and Elleman Road — near where the woman had encountered the couple earlier.
Investigators initially thought the driver, Samantha Freels, died because of the crash but later found she had a gunshot wound.
A sheriff’s investigator at the scene noticed a “fresh bullet hole” on the vehicle’s trunk lid.
Randy Freels was arrested Friday evening at the couple’s home on South Rangeline Road.
Duchak said Tuesday that the investigation continues after a search of a car driven by Samantha Freels, a truck also found near the crash scene and registered to Samantha Freels and the Rangeline Road, Ludlow Falls, residence.
The sheriff said numerous weapons were found in the search of the home, including long rifles and pistols. He did not have an exact number but said it would be “in excess of 40.”
“We have several witnesses we believe will place him at the scene,” Duchak said Tuesday.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 6:16 PM
MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Last weekend’s false alarm in Hawaii that sent people scrambling for cover is a mistake that is unlikely to be repeated in the Miami Valley, according to Jeff Jordan, director, Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management.
Saturday morning, people were alerted by the Hawaii emergency management agency that a missile attack was imminent.
Text alerts went to people’s cell phones and radio broadcasts were interrupted with the message. It came during a test of the state’s emergency notification system.
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“It sounds like in their system the test message and the actual message were right next to each other. Frankly that is an accident waiting to happen,” Jordan said.
Hawaii authorities confirmed that once the first message went out in error, it took more than 30 minutes to recall it and replace it with the all clear.
Jordan said notification systems used locally and statewide in Ohio do not include just one “button” for an emergency. Each message, he said, must be written to fit the emergency to avoid the situation that Hawaii found itself in.
“There are specific protocols in place (in Montgomery County) to prevent that kind of miscommunication,” Jordan said.
A mix of multiple agencies are responsible for notifying the public of emergencies. Alerts of incoming bad weather come directly from the National Weather Service, according to NewsCenter 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs.
“We actually see it instantly into our weather graphics and that is why it is so great with the new technology that we have to get these watches and warnings immediately,” Vrydaghs said.
The NWS alerts also go directly to emergency management agencies statewide.
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Other emergency notices include Amber alerts, concerning missing children, which come from local law enforcement.
The Ohio Department of Transportation uses highway electronic signs to notify the public of slow traffic or emergency response crews blocking expressway lanes.
Jordan said oftentimes, their best means of distributing emergency information is through the media. The agency uses social media as well, but broadcast radio and TV can reach more people very quickly.
He advises people that in case of a true emergency to take cover first and then check local media for updates on the situation.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:15 PM
— UPDATE @ 3:02 p.m.:
Judge Richard Skelton has issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the city of Dayton’s emergency vacate order for the Newcom building.
Skelton said the building owner must purchase infrared heaters today for the remaining 18 tenants in the building. He ordered that the building be available for inspection to the court.
Skelton said he will review the matter every two days and planned to inspect the building tonight. “I will be watching this very closely,” Skelton said.
UPDATE @ 2:07 p.m.:
Judge Richard Skelton said he is willing to work with the building owner to avoid kicking residents out of their homes.
But he said he wants to know how quickly owner Howard Heck can acquire infrared heaters for the 18 residents who remain in the building.
About seven residents have moved out owing to the vacate order.
Heck’s attorney at first said his client would order the heaters on Amazon, but Skelton said he wanted a quick and definite plan for obtaining the heaters.
Skelton took a short recess in court to allow Heck time to try to figure out how he could get the heaters quickly.
The roughly 50 residents of a downtown Dayton apartment building who were ordered to vacate by Tuesday if the heating system was not repaired were awaiting the results of an emergency hearing this afternoon
Last week, city of Dayton housing inspection officials issued an emergency vacate order to residents at the Newcom Building, located at 255 N. Main St.
The building’s boiler was shut off because it was releasing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which can cause deadly poisoning.
Dayton crews discovered high levels of carbon monoxide in the boiler room after responding to a medic call at the Newcom building.
The city told the building’s ownership it had to repair or replace the boiler by Tuesday or the building would be boarded up and all residents would be required to leave.
The building is not safe to live in because it does not have a functioning heating system, officials said, and the especially cold weather poses a threat to residents.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:38 PM
LEBANON — Firefighters put out a fire on Tuesday afternoon in the home at 1138 Algonquin Dr. in Lebanon.
No one was injured in the fire, reported as “heavy smoke showing” at 12:49 p.m.
Crews from Deerfield and Union township aided the Lebanon Fire Department in confining the fire to the home in a neighborhood off Cook Road and the Ohio 48 Bypass.
There were oxygen tanks in the house, but it was unclear if one was ignited, causing the blaze, Capt. Ryan Dipzinski said. The fire was put out in about 10 minutes, he said.